The board that governs the three state-supported universities approved a state grant program Thursday that will replace a program under fire that set aside part of the tuition paid to the schools for students in need. The Board of Regents is asking the state to chip in $39.5 million to fund the grant program.

Regent Bruce Rastetter says the plan won’t just help the students who get grants. “Our approach to the legislature will be in asking for these dollars to make it implicit that this is not new money for the university….we will have a reset on tuition, so we will be lowering in-state tuition commensurate with the dollars that the state commits to this,” Rastetter says.

He says it will help all students at the three schools. “So, actually what this program will do, will not only provide for students in need in scholarships, but it will lower the tuition costs to all instate students at the public universities,” Rastetter says. “And I think this is an extremely important point that committee came to.”

The setaside program took around 20-percent of tuition and used it for need-based student scholarships. Rastetter says the other part of the plan has the universities raising money to provide over eight-million dollars for merit scholarships.

“And last week at the legislative meeting, we also made it clear from the regent’s perspective that tuition would be reset on those dollars as well,” Rastetter says. He says that means tuition could be lowered in two ways for students as the money comes in to fund the need and merit-based scholarships.

The University of Iowa, Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa would have to raise over 200-million dollars overall to fund the merit scholarships. The plan is to phase out the tuition setaside over five years.

See the details of the plan here: Tuitiion setaside PDF